Mediterranean Zucchini Boats Recipe

Zucchini boats are delicious, versatile, and have wonderfully fresh flavors. They can be enjoyed as a plant-based main meal or eaten as a side dish to a meat-based main course.

As a food blogger, I rarely repeat recipes because I always have to cook something new to share here. But occasionally, I make something so good that it becomes part of my regular dinner rotation. This is definitely one of those recipes.

A single zucchini boat with the end cut off.

As many of you know, I’ve been focusing a lot on Mediterranean recipes lately and having a marvelous time doing so. I love the fresh flavors that this way of eating offers. This stuffed zucchini will pair well with just about anything else you want to make for dinner, and it’s pretty simple to make, too. It’s a great way to use up leftover quinoa.

What Are Zucchini Boats?

Zucchini boats are a delicious meal or side dish. The zucchini has the inside scooped out so they are hollow. Then, the hollows are filled up with stuffing of all different types. In this case, with Mediterranean deliciousness.

Can You Make Zucchini Boats Ahead Of Time?

You can prep and stuff the zucchini boats, but I recommend not putting them in the oven until just before you are ready to eat them. These are best eaten fresh, just out of the oven.

Two zucchini boats lined up on a wood cutting board.

Recipe Variations And Additions

Stuffed zucchini is versatile. You can change any aspect of the stuffing you want. Just keep in mind that you won’t need much extras. It’s often better to switch out ingredients by the amount listed than to add to the current total amount of filling. Zucchini boats can only hold so much filling before the filling falls all over the place. Here are some ideas.

Grains – Instead of quinoa, try brown rice, wild rice, bulgur wheat, couscous, or orzo. Always cook the grains according to package directions and then make this recipe from there.

Protein – While this recipe doesn’t include any, you can certainly add some. Try ground turkey or beef, cooked, chopped chickpeas, crumbled tofu, or even lentils.

Vegetables – There is no limit to the variation of vegetables you can add to this. The primary idea is to make sure anything you use if finely chopped. Try eggplant, spinach, kale, zucchini insides (what you scooped out), mushrooms, or sun-dried tomatoes.

Cheese – The cheese adds so much flavor to this dish, so don’t skip it. If you aren’t fond feta, try using mozzarella or grated Parmesan cheese. If you are plant-based, try adding nutritional yeast to the mix.

Herbs And Spices – This is a fun way to experiment with the flavor of this dish. Try adding fresh mint, basil, oregano, thyme, dill, or cilantro.

Nuts And Seeds – Finely chop some toasted pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds for added texture and flavor.

Dried Fruits – Try chopping raisins, cranberries, or dried apricots. Just make sure there is no sugar added to them.

Sauce Or Dressing – While lemon juice is wonderful in this dish, you can also try Italian dressing, tomato sauce or marinara, pesto, tahini, or a simple yogurt dressing or balsamic glaze.

A closeup of a cut zucchini boat with a knife and fork.

Recipe Note

This recipe is written to stuff one zucchini that is about 10 inches in length. You can easily multiply the recipe by as many times as you need to feed any number of people.

About The Ingredients

Large zucchini – Do not peel the zucchini, but do trim the end.

Cooked quinoa – Cooked to package directions.

Tomatoes – Any type you want to use.

Red onion – Red onion is best for flavor, but yellow or white onions will work too. Mince finely.

Red bell pepper – Mince these finely.

Fresh parsley – Chop finely.

Garlic cloves – It’s best if you press the garlic, but you can also mince them finely.

Olive oil – Or any oil you prefer.

Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice is best.

Crumbled feta cheese – You can use cow, goat, or sheep feta. I find that the best flavor comes from a goat and sheep combo.

Salt and pepper – Add to taste.

How To Make Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

An oven display set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

A large zucchini cut in half lengthwise.
Seeds scooped out of two zucchini halves.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.

Two zucchini halves laying on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place the zucchini halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Zucchini Boats recipe ingredients added to a metal mixing bowl.
Zucchini Boat filling mixed in a metal mixing bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers, parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Two zucchini halves laying on a parchment-lined baking sheet, stuffed with quinoa stuffing.

Stuff each zucchini half with the quinoa mixture, pressing down gently to pack it in.

Baked zucchini boats cooling on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the filling is heated through.

Two baked Zucchini Boats laying next to each other on a wood cutting board.

Remove from the oven, garnish with feta cheese, and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

A closeup of a cut zucchini boat on a wood cutting board with a knife and fork next to it.

Storing Zucchini Boats

Store stuffed zucchini leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to four days.

Freezing A Stuffed Zucchini Boat

Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.

Reheating A Stuffed Zucchini Boat

Reheat these either in the oven on a baking sheet or in a microwave.

More Zucchini Recipes

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A closeup of a zucchini boat half.

Mediterranean Zucchini Boats Recipe

Delicious, stuffed zucchini boats that make a perfect side dish or main meal for plant-based folks.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 284kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Sheet pan

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini
  • ¼ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • 2 large garlic cloves (pressed or finely minced)
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • ¼ medium lemon (juice only)
  • 2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
    An oven display set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (1 large zucchini)
    Seeds scooped out of two zucchini halves.
  • Place the zucchini halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    Two zucchini halves laying on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers, parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
    (¼ cup cooked quinoa, ¼ cup chopped tomatoes, ¼ cup finely diced red onion, ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 large garlic cloves, 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, ¼ medium lemon, salt and pepper)
    A closeup of zucchini boat stuffing, mixed in a metal mixing bowl.
  • Stuff each zucchini half with the quinoa mixture, pressing down gently to pack it in.
    Two zucchini halves laying on a parchment-lined baking sheet, stuffed with quinoa stuffing.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the filling is heated through.
    Baked zucchini boats cooling on a baking sheet.
  • Remove from the oven, garnish with feta cheese, and let cool for a few minutes before serving. (2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese)
    A closeup of a Zucchini Boat that has been cut.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1half | Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 431mg | Potassium: 1284mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3534IU | Vitamin C: 138mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 4mg

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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